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Plato's Homer

            Plato was one of the greatest philosophers to ever live. Throughout his lifetime he wrote many books, one entitled The Republic: Book X, which deals with his opinion of the perfect society. In that book Plato talks about his love for art, but according to him, his perfect society did not have room for art. Plato felt art was useless in society and far from the truth. Although Plato loved Homer, author of The Odyssey, he felt Homer did not belong in the perfect society. Plato believed that any form of art was truth less. Plato's second reason for not allowing art was it affected people's emotions. Plato believed in only rational approaches in life, while Homer, as we can see in Book Twenty-Two of The Odyssey, based most of his poetry on emotion. Although Homer has withstood the test of time over the past few centuries, his poetry is a prime example of why Plato wouldn't allow him or any other artist as part of his perfect society. .
             Plato's first argument with art is the simplicity of truth. Plato's ideas about truth begin with nature. Nature and only nature, which is created by God, can achieve the true definition of the truth. Following nature, Plato believed in God's choice to create makers. Makers are not the truth, but the maker's create an idea of truth. Finally there are the imitators. The imitators are the third descendent from the truth. Homer was considered an imitator. Plato writes: .
             Well, I will tell you, although I have from my earliest youth had an awe and love of Homer which even now makes the words falter on my lips, for he seems to be the great captain and teacher of the whole noble tragic company; but a man is not to be reverenced more then the truth, and therefore I will speak out. (2).
             Although Plato had a love for Homer, he felt Homer painted a false picture with his poetry. Homer's poetry was very descriptive, "Now stripping back his rags Odysseus master of craft and battle vaulted onto the great threshold, gripping his bow and quiver bristling arrows, and poured his flashing shafts before him- (22,1-3).

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